A key to building a stronger union is building stronger and more viable chapters. Local organizing is key and a key to local organizing is communication.
Whether you are a current UFT Chapter Leader, Delegate, Para Rep, activist member or looking to run for those positions in the upcoming Spring 2015 elections, Solidarity Caucus is here to assist and support.
Here are some steps:
- Collect the non-DOE emails of all your members. Ask the payroll secretary, who should also be a fellow UFT member, for a roster of all the staff. It should come in an Excel spreadsheet that they can email you. Compare that with a roster that your District Rep has. Organize it by columns such as FIRST NAME, LAST NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS.
- Once you have the list, you can email one of two ways. Copy and paste the email column into the BCC section of your email to them. We suggest BCC because it reduces the Reply to All issues that sometimes arise and it also keeps the emails more secret. Another way is to create a free www.mailchimp.com account and upload the list. You can play around with mailchimp and send emails that way. An advantage to using mailchimp is that it gives you feedback as in how many and who opened and read your email. It also keeps count of how many times it was opened, which could be a great indication if your email was forwarded to others and by whom.
- Create a school UFT chapter website to accent an in house UFT bulletin board. Watch and replicate using the two videos below and email email@example.com if you have any questions. Sites are also great for open dialogue and can be set to anonymous if needed.How to Create a UFT Website for your Chapter-Part 1 from Mr. Portelos on Vimeo.How to Create a UFT Chapter Site Part 2 from Mr. Portelos on Vimeo.
- Inspire your members to speak out and defend their professions and students, but attempt to collaborate with your administration as much as possible.
- Remember that you have state law protecting your union activity from retaliation and there has been case law stating you are aloud to be over-zealous if needed.
- Join a growing number of chapter leaders in an online email forum where we bounce ideas and questions to each other. Email a blank email to UFTCLNfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Be familiar with the contract and or at least know how to do keyword searches. Click here for the update contract and MOA.
- KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK AND NEVER SELL OUT FELLOW MEMBERS.
Here is a template to email your colleagues and gain their support.
I am writing this letter to ask for your support in becoming UFT chapter leader. As our community faces the challenges ahead, we need strong leadership in the UFT chapter that combines experience with a collective approach, striving to give every faculty and staff member a voice. Let me be your voice.
You may pay little attention to the concept of a union. It’s understandable as you are overwhelmed with paperwork andother responsibilities. However, a strong union can make the difference you need in your career. If you come in and go home unhappy, then you need to care. We all may not agree on everything, but I believe we ALL agree on one thing; Our whole school communities and careers have have room for improvement. I believe that building a stronger union chapter is the first step.
There is a contract that we all have to abide by. We will always try diplomacy first and work collaboratively when possible.
- Hold frequent union meetings to hear concerns and get input on the direction of the chapter.
- An online anonymous suggestion box and UFT school website. Getting you information is key.
- Have a strong UFT consultation committee that frequently meets, brainstorms and brings any issues or ideas to the principal.
- NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER, LET ONE OF US BE ALONE. We are a team.
- I will follow these: http://www.uft.org/chapter-
- I will help you with your rights:
The profession of teaching has been under attack for many years. Here in New York City, we continue to suffer the painful consequences. I will attend the monthly meetings at the UFT and bring the information back to you. With the help of the new delegate we will keep you informed.
Being a UFT Chapter Chair is a great responsibility – one I will take seriously. In terms of defending our contract, I believe I will be able to represent individual union members in a diligent and fair manner. I hope to bring a level of enthusiasm to the position. I believe I have the experience, knowledge and dedication needed to begin building a strong UFT chapter in our school. I need your help. Please vote for me on election day.
WE are the UFT. TOGETHER we can make a difference. Please transfer your support of me from pen to paper on election day.